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Ski Apache resort opening date delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Matthew Asher, Carlsbad Current-Argus
The ski season 2019-2020 is open offering a day filled with adventure on the slopes in southeast New Mexico.

Skiing enthusiasts in New Mexico will have to wait a little longer than usual for the Ski Apache resort to open up for the winter season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ski Apache, located in the Sierra Blanca near Ruidoso, traditionally opens on Thanksgiving. The ski basin looks to officially open to the public on Dec. 17, noting on its website that the opening date is also weather dependent.

Ken Marlatt, Ski Apache's director of operations, noted Ski Apache will be following all protocols set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Masks are mandatory. We start right off at the gate upon entry. We get their temperatures checked and are reminded that masks are mandatory at all times when on the property when people first come," Marlatt said. "We remind them about social distancing. This means if anyone that arrived together in the same vehicle, they can ride together. They can go on a lift together and a gondola cart together but we will not mix people together (on the rides up the mountain)."

Ski Apache plans to open at a 25% capacity, which Marlatt said will be 1,500 to 2,000 people daily. Marlatt also said the new "social grouping" rules to help limit cross contamination will likely result in longer lines. 

To ensure that people secure their spot at Ski Apache before it reaches the daily capacity limit, Marlatt suggests making reservations online ahead of time. This includes anyone who has a season pass.

"Even season pass holders will have to fill out our reservation to let us know when they're coming so they can be accounted for in our capacity limit," Marlatt said. "You just need to tell us which days you're coming."

The only building on the mountain that skiers will be allowed in to will be the wash rooms. 

Dining options will still be available during the season, but all food and bar services will be done outside. Marlatt said the menus will be "streamlined down to something quick and simple" for customers to ensure they can still get food in a reasonable time.

To make a reservation at Ski Apache, contact the ski basin at 575-464-3607 or visit the website at www.skiapache.com.

Matthew Asher covers sports for the Carlsbad Current-Argus. He can be reached at 575-628-5524, masher@currentargus.com or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.

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